NASCAR Suspends Kurt Busch, Extends His Probation

Greg AtkinsContributor IJune 4, 2012

DOVER, DE - JUNE 02:  (L-R) Team owner Kyle Busch talks with Kurt Busch, driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, on pit road after the NASCAR Nationwide Series 5-hour Energy 200 at Dover International Speedway on June 2, 2012 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

NASCAR announced today that they have suspended Kurt Busch for this weekend’s events at Pocono and have extended his probation until December 31 following his actions after the Nationwide Series race at Dover this past weekend.

NASCAR stated in an official release that:

“Busch violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member) of the 2012 NASCAR Rule Book.”

Busch has been on a short leash all season since his infamous tirade directed at ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch after the 2011 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. After the incident at Homestead, Busch was terminated from his contract with Penske Racing and has since found employment with James Finch and Phoenix Racing. Penske replaced Busch with A.J. Allmendinger, who has certainly underachieved this season.

Following the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, Busch was involved in a verbal altercation with a crewman from Ryan Newman’s team and Busch had to be restrained. Busch was placed on probation which was scheduled to end on July 25 for that incident.

Busch’s current suspension is scheduled to end on June 13, the Wednesday following this weekend’s Sprint Cup Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Kurt Busch’s one-year handshake agreement with Finch is up after the 2012 season. Regardless of character issues, Kurt is the biggest high-profile free agent available. There are certainly many teams that would love to hire a former Sprint Cup Series champion, however, more incidents like this will make him nearly impossible to find sponsorship for.